CEO George Jones comments:
Borders customers tend to be “highly educated, more affluent” and spend an average of an hour in the store, making them catnip to many advertisers. “It’s becoming more and more difficult to reach people,” Mr. Jones said. “Newspapers are not as effective as they used to be. Television is not as easily reachable as it used to be. This becomes an attractive option.”Flat screen video screens in retail are all the rage. Visiting a local Starbucks in the last few months, you will have noted the installation of video screens in their stores. Currently these support the integration with their music content which enables free downloads via iTunes. The video screens are not intrusive but mainly because the content is static: If they begin to offer video content as Borders are suggesting perhaps the vibe of the stores changes to one where you can hold a quiet meeting or take a leisurely break to one where you will be bombarded by advertising messages: The faster pace and the noise causing you to move out of the store faster. It could be unsettling. On the other hand the effort by Borders is an experiment in merchandising that should help the company develop new revenue streams and direct customer awareness of particular products. Jones was asked about the perception that screens could be counter to the store vibe and said,
The screens are “not designed to be intrusive,” Mr. Jones said. Rather, he said, they are “part of a master plan to create content that will do several things for us,” like directing traffic to the Borders Web site and paving the way to more cross-promotional deals with large media companies.
Stay tuned for more changes and experimentation from Borders.